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Full text of "A history of Persia"

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GRANTING OF A CONSTITUTION ^05
daughter in marriage.    I met His Highness first sV
eighteen years ago when he was Master of the Horse"
to the Heir-Apparent, and again later after his fall from
office.    To me he appeared to be a fine old crusty Tory
who  frankly  disliked  innovations, but was from   the
Persian point of view experienced and capable.    Foreign
questions were almost beyond his comprehension.
The Visit to England of Muzaffar-u-Diny 1902.—After
securing the second loan, Muzaffar-u-Din made his second
journey in Europe, and on this occasion visited England.1
The Shah brayed the terrors of the Channel, which were
very real to him, mainly in the expectation of receiving
the Order of the Garter, of which his deceased father had
been a recipient. But he was only offered a portrait of
King Edward set in diamonds, which he did not accept;
and he left England utterly dej ected. His prestige suffered
owing to what his Court regarded as a slight, and only
partial amends were made by the despatch of a special
mission in the following year to bestow the coveted order.
By a coincidence which was possibly designed, the long-
kept secret of the new tariff was revealed by Russia at
the very time when the Garter Mission was at Teheran.
The Condition of Persia before the Revolution.—Before
describing the events which preceded the grant of the
constitution, I cannot do better than quote at some
length from the memorandum drawn up by the British
Legation.2 It runs as follows :—
The condition of Persia had been for some time growing
more and more intolerable. The Shah was entirely in the hands
of a corrupt ring of courtiers who were living on the spoils of the
Government and country. He had parted with the treasures
inherited from his father, and with most of the Imperial and
national domain. He had thus been obliged to have recourse to
foreign loans, the proceeds of which he had spent in foreign travel
or had lavished on his courtiers. There was a yearly deficit, and
the debt of the country was growing daily.
A new Grand Vizier had been appointed, whose moving
1  On the occasion of his first tour in Europe the English Court was in mourning
and consequently the Shah was not invited.
2  Vide Blue Book, Persia, No. i (1909), p. 2.